By Sam Phillips
A new apartment-style housing and retail facility on the corner of Wick and Lincoln Avenues — tentatively called “The Enclave” — is scheduled to be open to students in fall 2017.
The Board of Trustees approved leasing 1.8 acres to LRC Realty, who will develop and manage the five-story complex.
The ground floor will have 15,000 square feet of retail space that they hope to fill with vendors such as Chipotle, Arby’s or Panda Express. The remaining four stories will house one, two and four bedroom apartments.
Neal McNally, vice president for finance and administration, said Youngstown State University will do everything they can to keep the project on schedule.
“We are very excited to have this type of interest in the university and the community,” he said.
McNally said LRC Realty has experience developing student-housing complexes, including one at the University of Akron.
“The success of the Akron facility gives us confidence in the firm’s ability to build, operate and manage student-housing facilities such as this one,” McNally said. “I think the Akron success had some impact on our decision to go forth with LRC.”
LRC Realty will begin development as early as spring 2016, so it can be open and operational by fall 2017.
McNally said the ability to meet those deadlines depends on the timeliness with which documentation is provided to the state.
“The state of Ohio will require [that] because it is partially on state property,” McNally said. “We can help the developer with that, you know, try to cut through some of the red tape in Columbus, but it’s largely going to fall on the developers.”
Kevin Fallon, senior vice president of development at LRC Realty, said they are working on the site plan.
Currently, the estimated cost of construction is around $10 million. LRC Realty will finance the development and operation of the complex. YSU will receive money for leasing the property.
Fallon said the housing complex will feature amenities such as Wi-Fi, a fitness center, studying lounges and an activity room with TVs and gaming stations.
“We are looking at tanning beds. We are looking at a courtyard facility, which would have outdoor grilling opportunities and seating.” Fallon said.
He added that many students in Akron take advantage of the free tanning beds at their facility.
The cost for students to live at The Enclave is expected to be in line with University Edge, the University Courtyard apartments and the Flats at Wick. The location will allow students to walk to class, as well as downtown.
Eddie Howard, vice president of student experience, said the proximity to the school is important and can attract students who want to live near campus. He said there is an increasing demand for student housing.
“[University Edge] already has over 30 students leased for next year … and I think folks are going to gravitate to living in the new facility,” Howard said. “There are going to be more and more folks who are looking for apartment-style housing as opposed to living at a traditional residence hall … [and] students who don’t live on campus may choose to live on campus as a result of how attractive the property is.”
He said YSU wants to make sure that students are provided with quality accommodations.
“We really try to work on helping students understand that we see residential living, regardless of where students live, as creating an environment that’s going to get more students engaged and involved and excited about being at YSU,” Howard said.